February 19, 2016 (Montreal, QC) – Frigid cold weather with a windchill factor down to minus 30 C seem to have helped boost attendance at the 14th annual Montreal Bike Show / Salon du vélo de Montréal which ran Feb. 12—14 jointly with the Montreal Triathlon Show.
Organizer Jan Dubé was happy when we spoke to him early Sunday afternoon at his consumer show: “The Journal de Montréal daily newspaper listed seven indoor activities on this frigid weekend including coming to the Montreal Bike Show. And attendance was up over last year for Friday and Saturday….”
The number of exhibitors was down from 2015, but the rented floor space was up, presenting the impression of a bigger show. “The show seems to be improving,” said André Gingras of ARG (a distributor carrying products such as Cinelli, Corima, Time et Tufo), adding, “We need more guys here like Quilicot,” referring to one of the biggest booths on the floor.
Local retailer Les Bicycles Quilicot was among those expanding its kiosk compared to 2015. Many of the busy staff staff at Quilicot were wearing orange bow ties as was owner Marc-André Lebeau. “It’s just a marketing thing,” he explained before showing off a Retül fitting machine destined for his Ste-Thérèse store.
“We also bought another store, Vélo Branché, and will be opening it on March 1, selling only electric bikes through this new outlet.” The oldest bike retailer in Quebec is thus now pitching to a new clientele of young urban professionals riding electric bikes. Quilicot already has stores in Montreal, Laval, and Ste-Thérèse.
Gervais Rioux of Argon 18 happily reported that many show attendees were interested in his bikes and some had left deposits. “We’ll see over the next two weeks how this translates into sales.”
Greg Capello of Granfondo Ottawa was publicizing his July 23 mass event and proud to show off the Desjardins credit union logo on his signs. “Our new sponsor is hoping to benefit from incursions into the health and fitness market.”
The Biemme kiosk was next door showing off clothing and accessories for both cycling and triathlon. Sales staff there reported heavy traffic despite the cold and competition with Valentine’s Day.
RM Cycling Products, started up by Robert Miligan who is a police officer, was showing off their “hot” Blade carbon wheels and is excited about their new partnership agreement with Cycling Canada for the next three years.
Nearby, the Gran Fondo Mont-Tremblant reported a brisk business in selling registrations for the May 28 event. “We risk being sold-out,” said Marie-Elaine Boudreau.
The Granfondo Garneau Quebecor p/b Cascades also reported much interest in registrations. “We are hoping to top 3,000 registrations for August 14,” said Marc-André Daigle who was also passing out information for another Garneau granfondo in Florida on March 20.
Bike mechanic school Techno Cycle has a new owner in Pierre Grouiller who bought the school in November. Techno Cycle founder Denise Belzil still works there, but plans to branch off to open workshops in the Eastern Townships. Grouiller, who previously worked at Techno Cycle as a mechanic, is looking at opening schools near Ottawa and perhaps Toronto.
Many tourist associations had kiosks at the Montreal show, trying to lure cyclists to pedal bike paths of their particular region. Tourisme Centre du Québec’s Caroline Béliveau showed off a new cycling map of her region that lists five cycling circuits, all of them approved by Velo Quebec.
Some of the other tourist regions presenting at the show included: Tourisme Laurentides (home of the world famous P’tit Train du Nord bike path); Tourisme Outaouais (home of Gatineau Park and its superb rides); and Tourisme Tremblant (part of the Laurentides and known for its cycling). And some bike paths had kiosks at the show such as the award-winning 256km Véloroute des Bleuets around Lac St. Jean
Vélo Québec was also present, pushing its organized cycling trips among other things. The list includes: the April 29—May 1 TD Five Boro Bike Tour, NYC; The Aug. 6-12 Grand Tour Desjardins along the Ottawa River; trips to Cuba, Italy, Majorca (Spain); and more.
The film, Fire in the Frame, about Montreal-based bike manufacturer Guiseppe Marinoni has now been seen in 55 Canadian communities and will soon be showing in Los Angeles and New York City boasted film co-producer Noah Couture-Glassco. But the Marinoni company itself was absent from the 2016 bike show; Couture-Glassco suggested that personnel there might be stretched too thin to cover the Montreal Bike Show.
The prize of a one-week trip for two to the wonderful cycling holiday destination of the Magdalen Islands (Iles-de-la-Madeleine) from Montreal, as offered by CTMA Cruises was won by Suzanne Martel.
Dubé told us that Sunday’s third annual 17km Vélo sous zéro mass winter bike ride in Montreal, organized by Vélo Québec, was independent of the Montreal Bike show despite previous editions of that ride using his bike show as their destination. Pedal understands that some 300 cyclists participated in the 2016 ride on what may have been the coldest day of the winter – more info here.
As previously reported, Montreal has been chosen to host the 2017 Winter Cycling Congress (read the story here).